The following remarks were given by Brent Levy at the end of worship on February 12, 2012.
It’s become apparent in the last year and a half since our launch that one of the unique constants of this movement — this community — is that things and people are always changing. The transience of this community is at once heartbreaking as dear friends move on, but it’s also filled with a holy anticipation as we await what God will do and how God will move in the lives of those we’ve come to love so much.
And so it is, today. Dear friends, it is with great sadness, but also with a whole lot of hope and excitement that I publicly announce that I will be stepping down as Worship Leader for RISE at the end of May — as Natalie and I prepare to move to Durham, North Carolina to begin the next chapter in our journeys of life and faith. Through a whole lot of prayer and discussion and discernment and tears and arguing with God, I have decided to go to seminary at Duke Divinity School beginning this fall. I gave Natalie the choice of whether she wanted to stay here at RISE or come with me for the next three years, and (thank God!) she chose me … so I’m sorry about that. I tried.
What does this mean for you? Well, a couple things. First, this doesn’t change much right now. I’m still the Worship Leader of this community (like it or not!) and am still committed to leading meaningful worship that sends us out to love this world and be the hands and feet of Christ to our neighbors here, as well as our neighbors around the world. But it also means that beginning tomorrow, the search begins for this community’s next worship leader. We’re going through a full-on application and resume and interview process and there’s a team in place to work the front lines of this search, but this also needs to be a community effort. If you know anyone who may be interested or who you think might be a good fit, please let us know and be in prayer for this process and this team over the next few months.
A few more things I want to say and then I’ll shut up. First, I remember vividly the day that the idea for RISE was born. Amanda and I were sitting in a booth at Mr. J’s on 33. And we said, “What if …” and started to dream with a holy imagination about what this community might look like. That was a little over two years ago now and even our wildest dreams couldn’t have come close to how beautiful this is. And as I stand and look around, I’m so overwhelmed and incredibly humbled when I think about what God has done and is doing here — how much this movement has grown and how I’ve come to know and love you — many of you who I wouldn’t have ever had the chance of meeting had it not been for this community. And I stand in awe at how you have latched on to this vision — this crazy idea — and made it your own. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And if any of you are asking, “What’s going to happen to RISE,” well first of all, that’s a silly question. And second of all, I want you to look around and you’ll find your answer. God’s doing amazing things here and that’s not going to stop.
And so finally, just for my sanity and for our collective reassurance I’d like us to say this closing prayer together. This has been my prayer for this community and will continue to be. And I think the exciting part for all of us is that, by God’s grace, this is the reality that we’re living into and will continue to live into as a part of God’s dream, so I invite you to say this with me …
“May the good news grab you, disrupt you, unsettle you and shake you up. May you lose your life and find it, die and be reborn, take a breath, open your eyes, and see things you’ve never seen before.”